Rubus idaeus L.

Order - Rosales

Family - Rosaceae





Other Names:


A deciduous shrub with red berries.






Stipules -

Petiole - to 70 mm long.

Leaflets 3 or 5, arranged pinnately, lateral petiolules 0 mm long (leaflets sessile), terminal petiolule 15-32 mm long; basal leaflet pair not lobed;

Blade - terminal leaflet 40-100(120) mm long, 30-50(100) mm wide, egg shaped, base rounded to notched (subcordate), margin double toothed (biserrate), apex pointed (acuminate), lower surface grey-white, densely minutely felted, lamina obscured.



Primocanes erect or inclined, rounded; Hairs (indumentum) lacking or of dense, fine, non-glandular pilose hairs; white waxy covering not present with age; prickles either lacking or (0.5)1-2.5 mm long, straight or curved, declined, not confined to the angles, 30-150 per 5 cm length.

Flower head:

Inflorescence a series of short, c. 20 cm long, stems from the upper leaf axils of the primocane, each terminating in a sub-corymbose raceme of 3-10 flowers, the first-formed flowers usually solitary in the axils of a 3 leaflet leaf; basal floral leaves of 3 leaflets, with petiole 2-4 cm long, lateral petiolules 0 mm long (sessile), terminal petiolule 1-2.8 cm long, terminal leaflet 5-12 cm long, 4-8 cm wide. Mature pedicels 2-3 cm long; rachis indumentum of sparse non-glandular pilose hairs.


Ovary - Style terminal.

Sepals - 5, overlapping. Armed or not, densely non-glandular pubescent, reflexed or, if not reflexed, enclosing base of fruit, apex apiculate.

Petals - 5, white, elliptic to lance shaped, 5-7 mm long, 2-4 mm wide, not touching, not crumpled, not cupped, apex rounded.

Stamens - Many, shorter than styles; filaments white;

Anthers - without pilose hairs.


Young carpels densely white pubescent.

Red berry formed from a clusters of many small, succulent, red drupes.

Fruit separating from receptacle and hollow.



Key Characters:

Leaves pinnate, with 3, 5 or 7 pairs of leaflets and maybe shortly petiolate.

Upper and lower leaf surfaces different, grey felted below

Primocanes with no thorns or very tiny ones

Petals white, shorter than sepals

Sepals not recurved in fruit

Fruits red, falling without receptacle (hollow)

Young carpels densely grey-pubescent.

Adapted from Robyn and Bill Barker.


Life cycle:

Perennial deciduous shrub.


Sensitive to hot winds.


By suckers.

Flowering times:

Seed Biology and Germination:

Vegetative Propagules:



A number of commercial cultivars exist.


Population Dynamics and Dispersal:

Mainly spread by intentional planting of suckers.

Origin and History:

Eastern Asia. Temperate areas of the Northern Hemisphere. Europe.

Origins are unclear because of its long time use in cultivation. Some give it a Eurasian origin while others consider it also to be native to North America.



Cultivated in the cooler areas of the southern states. Naturalised populations, presumably escapees from cultivation, have been recorded in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia.

Courtesy Australia's Virtual Herbarium



Temperate. Cool to cold sheltered areas.


Prefers loams to heavy soils.

Plant Associations:



Fruit eaten fresh or used to make conserves and juice.


Weed of disturbed areas


Not recorded as toxic.



Management and Control:

Goats provide a method of non-chemical control. Infested areas are grazed with 7.5 goats per ha in the first year, then 1.25 goats per ha in subsequent years.

Slashing alone is generally ineffective.

Multiple cultivations provide control but may lead to erosion and soil structure problems.

Scalping to 30 cm and root raking can be effective but may require a follow up with other control measures to control re-shooting root and stem fragments and seedlings. Rehabilitation of the site is often required to prevent reinfestation.

Mechanical removal, or slashing and burning followed by cultivation, can provide control if repeated regularly and then followed by planting of competitive, preferably perennial, pastures species that is grazed.

Seedlings rarely establish in dense pasture or undisturbed native vegetation.

Improving pasture management usually prevents reinfestation.

Control with herbicides is usually the most cost effective. Metsulfuron (Brush Off®) and triclopyr (Garlon®) or triclopyr plus picloram (Grazon®) have provided the best results. Glyphosate can be used in home garden or other sensitive areas. Apply herbicides when the plant is actively growing and has good leaf area.

Basal bark applications using Access® plus diesel can be used where canes are removed mechanically.

Dead stems may be burnt or slashed in the following season to allow access and rehabilitation of the site.

Fire provides little control alone but assists access for herbicide application or other controls.

In Pine plantations hexazinone can be used.

Follow up treatments are essential for high levels of control.

Low volume spraying is usually effective providing the amount of active ingredient applied per bush is kept constant.

For high volume spraying use 1 litre of mix for each 2.5 cubic metres of bush (or 2.5 square metres of low lying Blackberry). This is equivalent to about 4000 L/ha of spray mix being applied.

In large infestations, consider using the cheaper metsulfuron for a year or two to reduce the size of the infestation then follow up with the more effective and costly triclopyr + picloram herbicides.


Eradication strategies:

Mechanical control is difficult and most of the root system must be removed for effective control.

3 annual, summer applications of 1 L of Grazon® plus 250 mL of Pulse Penetrant® in 100 L of water generally gives very high levels of control. Replant native species after control has been achieved or establish a competitive, and preferably perennial, pasture species then graze to prevent seedlings establishing.

On large infestations, 10 g metsulfuron(600g/kg) plus 250 mL Pulse Penetrant in 100 L water, applied in summer when the plant is actively growing, provides a cheaper option to reduce the size of the infestation before Grazon® is used.

Herbicide resistance:

None reported.

Biological Control:

Main pests include Aphids, Bud Mites, Light Brown Apple Moth and Thrips.

Diseases include Anthracnose, Crown Gall, Grey Mould, Leaf Spot, Orange Rust and White Root Rot.

Related plants:

Blackberry (Rubus anglocandicans = Rubus discolor = Rubus procerus, Rubus fruticosus, Rubus ulmifolius)

Boysenberry (Rubus ursinus) has narrow straight thorns.

Cutleaf Blackberry (Rubus laciniatus ssp. laciniatus)

Kittatinny Blackberry (Rubus bellobatus)

Loganberry (Rubus loganobaccus, Rubus ursinus, Rubus x loganobaccus) has narrow straight thorns and usually flowers later than blackberry.

Mountain Raspberry (Rubus gunnianus)

Native Raspberry (Rubus hillii = Rubus moluccanus) has simple palmately lobed leaves.

Native Raspberry (Rubus parviflorus, Rubus rosifolius)

North American Dewberry (Rubus roribaccus)

Raspberry (Rubus idaeus)

Rose-leaved Bramble (Rubus rosifolius)

Wineberry (Rubus phoenicolasius)

Yellow Raspberry (Rubus ellipticus)

Rubus alceifolius

Rubus chloocladus

Rubus cissburiensis

Rubus koehleri

Rubus leightonii.

Rubus polyanthemus

Rubus pyramidalis

Rubus radula

Rubus rosaceus

Rubus selmeri = R. laciniatus.

Rubus vestitus

Apple (Pirus malus), Pear (Pirus communis), Quince (Cydonia vulgaris), Loquat (Eriobotrya japonica), Plum (Prunus domestica), Apricot (Prunus armeniaca), Almond (Prunus amygdalus), Peach (Prunus persica) and Strawberry (Fragaria vesca) are all in the same family as Raspberry.

Plants of similar appearance:

See A key for weedy Blackberries and allied species in WA.


Barker, Robyn and Barker, Bill (2005). Blackberry. An identification tool to introduced and native Rubus in Australia. Edition 1.00. State Herbarium of South Australia.

Black, J.M. (1965). Flora of South Australia. (Government Printer, Adelaide, South Australia). P396.

Lazarides, M. and Hince, B. (1993). CSIRO handbook of economic plants of Australia. (CSIRO, Melbourne). #1070.7.

Reid, R.L. (1990) The Manual of Australian Agriculture. (Butterworths, Sydney). P173.


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